About Us

Our Mission

The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy, previously the UPCI Academy, strives to provide cutting edge research and career preparatory experiences to a diverse group of highly motivated high school students who are pursuing higher education and careers in STEM fields, especially research and medicine.

Our Goals

1) Provide authentic research and mentorship opportunities to diverse group of students to broaden participation in STEM.
2) Increase the quality and diversity of the biomedical workforce.
3) Expose diverse student population to quality career and academic preparatory experiences.


Through the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy’s eight-week, hands-on summer program, high school students, primarily rising juniors and seniors, engage in cutting edge cancer research by working in laboratories directed by dedicated faculty at 6-8 sites across the University of Pittsburgh campus. Over the course of its history, The Hillman Academy has become an award-winning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program that prepares college-bound teenagers for successful careers in science and medicine.

Scholars in The Hillman Academy explore complex questions within a particular area of cancer research. The majority of their time is spent working in the lab with their assigned mentors. The remaining time is spent receiving didactic instruction; touring facilities dedicated to clinical cancer care and research; participating in journal clubs; and attending cameo presentations by accomplished professionals in the field. At the end of the program, each scholar delivers a ten-minute oral presentation and participates in a poster symposium that reflects their findings in the lab.
Those who participate in The Hillman Academy have the opportunity to do the following:

  • Complete an impactful research project under the guidance of University faculty, staff, or trainees.
  • Receive college and career preparation through our professional development and enrichment activities.
  • Interact with leading scientists and doctors.
  • Have a fun, rewarding summer in a unique research and training experience.

Housing Information

The Hillman Academy is a partially residential program. That means that we allow students to either stay in the dorm or commute daily. This also allows us to accept students from both the local are as well as nationally. Please note some specifics may be subject to change year to year. Dorms are only available if we are permitted to use them by the university.